News Growl has learned aproximately 100 county-level Republican activists in the New York GOP are launching an unauthorized bid today to draft the Libertarian gubernatorial ticket, Larry Sharpe and Andrew Hollister, as candidates in the September 12th Republican primary.
The Sharpe/Hollister campaign insists the effort is not their idea, nor are they actively seeking the Republican ballot line themselves. They are happy, however, for Republican activists to campaign for the Libertarians in their primary if that is their choice.
The Sharpe Hollister campaign began spontaneously receiving dozens of emails from discontented Rebublicans starting on June 14th, asking how they could help Larry Sharpe enter the GOP primary. Several emails refer to informal organizing taking place among activists on Facebook.
Each time an email was received, Sharpe communications director Lauren McKinnon made it clear that while the Libertarian candidates might be willing to appear on the Republican primary ballot, any effort to draft Larry Sharpe and Andrew Hollister would need to be the result of a spontaneous, grassroots effort from Republicans.
One email received by the campaign (provided to News Growl under conditions of anonymity) expressed the frustration many lifelong Republican members feel with their state party leadership and the party’s presumptive nominees, Marcus Molinaro and Julie Killian.
“Given the GOP choice I say let’s get Larry and Andrew in there because the GOP has not chosen wisely and I feel Larry and Andrew will kick butt in a primary against Molinaro and Killian. They are no good for New York State. I am willing to help out in any way I can.”
Another email reads, “I absolutely support getting Larry to primary Molinaro. I’m willing to help where and when I can,” and another, “WHERE DO WE SIGN FOR LARRY TO GET ON THE BALLOT (ME AND 4 OTHERS AT THIS TIME).”
Again speaking under conditions of anonymity, one GOP county committee member explained the motivation for drafting Sharpe and Hollister in a statement:
We believe if people could hear his message, this would be a no-brainer. Molinaro doesn’t represent us. I’m not sure if he knows what he represents anymore. But it’s time for a change, and maybe this will light a fire in leadership to finally make that change and go for the bold choice. Larry Sharpe deserves our line, and that is why we are out here, hoping to get 15,000 good signatures over the next 3 weeks so that he has a real shot at this.
The 15,000 signatures referred to is a requirement for petitioning a primary ballot in a state-wide race in New York. It is understood that the roughly 100 known participants will begin collecting petitions officially this morning.
As the Sharpe/Hollister campaign is not organizing the drive, and its leaders are conducting their work outside official party channels, it is proving difficult to accurately asses the size and strength of the movement.